Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


No interests were declared.


Minutes of the Board Meeting held on 22 June 2020, and actions arising pdf icon PDF 152 KB


The minutes were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting held on 22 June 2020.



Updated Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 159 KB


The Board considered an updated copy of the Terms of Reference. The following amendments had been made. 

-      James Farrar had been confirmed as the business representative from the Local Enterprise Partnership.

-      Lisa Winward, the Chief Constable from North Yorkshire Police was an additional Police representative.

-      Phil Mettam’s job title had been corrected to reflect his role on the Board.

-      New arrangements for business support had been arranged.


The Director of Public Health (DPH) highlighted a comment in the minutes which would allow the Board to make arrangements to meet in private without press and public should they need to do so if there were any sensitive confidential discussions.


The Board agreed the Terms of Reference as amended.



Outbreak Control Plan pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Board considered the Outbreak Control Plan, which had been amended following consultation. The key changes made were:

-      A simplified management structure and relationship diagram

-      Updated data to reflect the position as of 10th July 2020

-      Updated changes to the delivery model

-      Ensuring a good transfer of case information through establishing a single point of contact to liaise with the NHS Track and Trace system, as well as the Public Health England Health Protection Team

-      Addition of Appendices: Appendix One – Definition of a cluster, Appendix Two – Functions and responsibilities of the Single Point of Contact, Appendix Three – Terms of Reference for this board, Appendix Four - COVID Health Protection Board Terms of Reference.


During July the plan would be presented to the Council’s Executive and the Health and Wellbeing Board.


Discussions outside the meeting had taken place around accessing data. Councillor Aspden had sent two separate letters to the Department of Health and Social Care; one asking for further guidance around local lockdowns and the other requesting as much access as possible to the available data. This was in response to issues raised at the June meeting.

Action: Cllr Aspden to share the letters sent to the Department of Health and Social Care with the Board.


Councillor Myers queried the number of beds being re-registered by the CQC. The DPH assured the Board that the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Care Quality Commission (CQC) and CYC worked well in partnership and progressed daily work.


Councillor Myers also questioned the impact of COVID-19 on live police investigations. The DPH assured the Board of the already established robust safeguarding arrangements and relationships amongst all partners in York.


The Board accepted and signed off the Outbreak Control Plan as amended.



Current Situation in York pdf icon PDF 438 KB


The Assistant Director of Public Health (ADPH) presented the most up to date data to the Board. Data is was now being received from the National Test and Trace services. The York CVS Chief Executive thought that the amount of identified contacts per positive case was quite low. The ADPH attributed this to York residents following guidelines well.


Councillor Myers queried the above-average amount of deaths in care homes. The ADPH noted that this could be caused by a number of contributing factors. This data would continue to be closely monitored.


Presentation on Data and Intelligence (Theme 4 in the Outbreak Control Plan) pdf icon PDF 301 KB


The ADPH presented an overview of the data to which CYC had been granted access. Data was received regularly around different cases’ severity, symptoms and setting. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) data received presented the total number of deaths but it took two months to be published. Postcode data was also starting to be received which helped to understand more clearly the areas of the city impacted the most.


Marc Bichtemann, the Managing Director of First York, raised a query around flagging this shared information with businesses. Data was monitored to identify whether it was a place or type of work that was generating cases; this would in turn inform our decisions and plans.


The Board noted the presentation.



Outbreak Planning for Universities and Colleges pdf icon PDF 442 KB


Professor Charlie Jeffery, the Vice Chancellor and President of the University of York, updated the Board on the current plans for Universities and Colleges. Mitigation measures were being put in place to make campuses as safe and secure as possible for the approximate 34,000 students expected to arrive. There was work already being progressed with Public Health England and the City of York Council. Charlie Jeffery suggested developing a sub-group to progress some of the specific issues met by Higher Education organisations.


Charlie Jeffery also informed the Board of the work happening with the York Hospital regarding York University’s testing capability. There were around 200 academic colleagues working on the effects of COVID-19.


The report was welcomed by the Chair and DPH. Councillor Runciman thought that setting up a task and finish group would be beneficial,  as public relations around students arriving in the city could be quite complex. With concerns around density of student populations, this could further reassure the public.. The proposal of a dedicated sub-group to look at student health issues was accepted and endorsed by the board. The DPH agreed to take this action forward and provide feedback at the next meeting.



Communications Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Head of Communications, City of York Council, gave a presentation to the Board detailing how the communications teams had aided the efforts to re-open the city safely. The communication plan was outlined in the Council’s Outbreak Control Plan.  Many of our partner agencies had been helping to share these safety messages.


Andrew Lowson from York BID informed the meeting of the City Tourism Recovery Plan, which provided £100,000 of funding to support York’s tourism and leisure industry to bounce back and encourage people to safely visit York once again. This had been used for a multitude of COVID-19 management systems, such as  the 20 hand sanitiser dispensary points that had been installed in the city centre. Visit York had also been promoting York as a safe place to visit on their website, social media and in the city centre.


Councillor Runciman informed the meeting of the Shop Local initiative. This initiative had developed advertising for the Press and different social media channels in efforts to encourage people to support their local businesses.  Councillor Runciman also thought that information packs for School Governors should be developed as they had proved to be good at disseminating information in the past.  The Head of Communications agreed to progress this.  It was also suggested that the Board receive information on the safe opening of schools at the August meeting. Amanda Hatton, the Corporate Director for Children, Education and Communities at City of York Council, agreed to this.


The Board raised the issue of face coverings.  There were concerns around the supplies of these, in particular for businesses, and also around the number of people currently wearing them. Compliance with wearing face coverings on public transport had been good in the city.  Discussions took place regarding the powers the police had to enforce the wearing of masks and whether such powers would change if national guidance did so. The DPH thought that the data around face covering was strong enough to develop a localised response.  This was supported by the NHS Vale of York CCG, Executive Director of Primary Care and Population Health, and he agreed that we shouldn’t wait for national guidance to encourage this.


The Board agreed that a small task and finish group should be formed to develop the message around the use of face coverings in different public settings. The Head of Communications at City of York Council agreed to take the lead on this.


Action: Claire Foale to lead a task and finish group to develop an encouraging message around the use of face coverings and to update the Board at the next meeting.


The Board noted the updates and agreed to progress the actions as set out above. 



Agenda Items for the next meeting


The Chair confirmed that the Board had two standing items for their agendas, namely: Update on communications and Update on the current situation.  Amanda Hatton, the Corporate Director for Children, Education and Communities at City of York Council, agreed an agenda item for the August meeting about communications on safely opening schools.


The Chair invited all members of the Board to suggest items for future agendas.


Dates of Future Meetings


The dates of the future meetings were as follows:

·       19 August 2020 – 17.30

·       9 September 2020 – 17.30

·       21 October 2020 – 17.30


Any Other Business


The Chair suggested that the Board hold a Facebook Q&A session with the public before the August meeting. The Head of Communications agreed to progress this.



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